• May 10th 2007 at 1:05PM
  • 12
Several months ago we reported on an Indian-built Reva electric car that was crushed in Australia because the vehicle had never been crash tested. The same vehicles are sold in England as the G-Wiz and like the Zap Xebra sold in the United States it is exempt from crash testing. The three wheeled Xebra is classed as a motorcycle and in Europe there is a classification called quadricycles for light weight four wheeled vehicles.

Quadricycles are also exempt from the central London congestion charge and have become increasingly popular lately. British car magazine Top Gear decided to have one of the little battery powered vehicles put through the EuroNCAP (new car assessment program) crash test to see how well it does. The car was crashed into a barrier at 40 mph and the likelihood of the driver surviving was slim as shown in the photos above. The British government also tested a G-Wiz at 35mph and was so concerned with the results that they are now going to the European Commission to review the regulations for quadricycles, as we mentioned the other day.

The Top Gear site also has a video of the crash test. Fortunately some electrics, like those from Tesla and Phoenix, are being built to car safety standards and even NEVs in the US are subject to 25 mph crash tests.

Related:
[Source: Top Gear, thanks to Gordon for the tip]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      If it's classified as a motorcycle then you sohuld have to wear a helmet. By the looks of that mess it *might* even save you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1 -
      Let me get this straight, you are mad that improved safety regulations have saved tens of thousands of lives? People with your attitude are the ones that refuse to buckle a seatbelt because they are an "adult", but then sue a car company after becoming seriously injured.

      How can you argue that regulations have slowed innovation? You obviously have no idea how much technology has advanced in today's automobile compared to just 10-20 years ago.

      People regularly walk away from crashes today that previously caused serious injury and death. What a terrible thing!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well for the most part of it, any vehicle with those specs are bound to be that way. It's a quadricycle, (read about it here: http://www.gnn.gov.uk/environment/fullDetail.asp?ReleaseID=282891&NewsAreaID=2)... u know, just an extension of a motorbike with 4 wheels n a battery et al. When I read up on this, I don't remember since when Quads started being tested as cars?? More over the g-wiz was sanctioned safe as a quad, so why these double standards?? Here's the place where I read up on it earlier : http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/news/
      • 8 Years Ago
      40 MPH might be "moderate speed" for regular cars but in the context of Reva, the term should be used for around 25-30 MPH imo.

      Reva's top speed itself is only 45 MPH so if you crash it at 40 MPH, you can't really expect any other result.

      I'd like to know how well regular cars fare when crashed close to their top speed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sorry to say that I shall never see one of these little cars on our roads here in Australia, why? 1. it doesn't have a V8 engine 2. it doesn't produce over 200 H.P. and 3. it doesn't guzzle petrol, so that means there will be plenty of restraints from allowing it to be imported here.
      We are told that the reason it wasn't accepted here in Australia was because of the crash test done by Top Gear on this vehicle and that shows you how rediculas this authority is to take the evidence of a television station only.
      Do you still see fibreglass three wheeled cars on your roads in the U.K.? bet they were never tested. If car tests are so important maybe all makes of cars prior to the crash test period should be banned from road use.
      Another thought if the maximum speed limit is 70 M.P.H. in the U.K. why are you allowed to buy a car that exceeds 70 M.P.H. Here in Australia we are constantly told that Speed kills, our maximum speed here in Victoria is 110 Km/Hr and if you drive up a highway at that speed, see how long it is befor you fall asleep with boredom, in your V8 engined car with a Kw rating of above 300Kw. here in the city suburbs they have installed trafic light at every junction to slow down the traffic and make your journey safer. Now we see not speed that kills but down right frustration. Imagine all that polution. In the distance of 2 miles from my home to the place I work, I cross 11 sets of traffic lights
      • 5 Years Ago
      So what's all the fuss about. The car maker is doing well enough to throw some dough at its R & D so next time around the new model might get through one of these tests. Please folks bear in mind that GM of US has some interest in this company and even though times are tough for the American auto maker, it sees the Reva company as a way to enter a previously untouched market by using Reva technology. Oh and front mounted engines do little to improve crash worthiness. In fact engines hinder the process somewhat by allowing the engine structure to be pushed into the driver's/pasenger's compartment. Better design is what is needed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Peter wrote:
      "The trouble is, when people buy something that looks like a car (enclosed cabin, multiple seats, 4 wheels), they assume that it is about as safe as other cars."

      Peter, while I completely agree that these cars ought to be safer than they are. But the G-Wiz has a plastic body and if you've ever seen one, it looks like a toy. I don't think anyone expects it to be as safe as a regular car.

      GoinGreen, the company that sells the G-Wiz in UK says the average driving speed for the car is 10mph in UK. It also advises buyers to "avoid motorways and fast roads."
      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/safe_driving/

      According to their FAQ, "the G-Wiz has a safety record second to none, with over 20 million miles driven by customers globally with no reported serious injuries. (source: RECC)"
      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/gwiz_faq/
      • 8 Years Ago
      But 40mph is a moderate speed compared to most traffic flow. The top speed of the vehicle is not relevant. Even though a Ferrari can go 200mph, it doesn't mean that 100mph is a moderate speed at which to drive it through the neighborhood.

      The trouble is, when people buy something that looks like a car (enclosed cabin, multiple seats, 4 wheels), they assume that it is about as safe as other cars. A bicyclist or motorcyclist knows what they're getting into when they ride in traffic because it's obvious that they lack many of the important safety features that cars have. Tiny cars that are classified as quadricycles and motorcycles give their owners a false sense of security. They look like they should have crumple zones, air bags, and crash structures, but they rarely do.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I guess that's a problem if adults are to be treated as children. I personally don't see what the surprise is, or what's to be alarmed about. Most of those cars are made that way in order to be classified as motorcycles, because over-restrictive regulations keep us from being able to choose to buy them otherwise.

      The problem isn't the cars. I doubt any of them are any more dangerous than riding open-air on two wheels in a motorcycle. The problem is that the cars actually have to be made less safe to be sold here, to be classified as not-a-car.

      There are Zap cars all over Salem here, and there is zero doubt they'd be safer with four wheels. However, they can't be sold that way.

      So our wonderful safety regulations give us heavier, more expensive cars, slower innovation, and even less safe cars at the margin, either with these kind of work arounds or people driving old beaters because cars are more expensive.

      Thanks so much, Ralph Nader.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ok, I hear all the crying over this little cars (because that is what it looks like) bad wrap for safety. If you are in this thing going 20 mph (not fast by any means) and hit another slow car at 20 mph there is your impact speed of 40 mph that you would not likely live through. I hope the goverment takes this death trap off the market until they improve the safety of this rolling coffin.
      • 8 Years Ago
      With the absence of an engine and other mechanical parts in the front,I am not quite shocked with the results. The point is it’s a car specially designed for city needs. Driving it in such a speed and crashing it will give nothing but bad a result.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The test that REVA was subjected to is not required fore a quadricycle, it's for cars. You could have an equivalent story about subjecting a motorcycle to this test. How about subjecting a boat or an airplane to this test? Maybe a pedestrian or even a horse-carried person? Imagine a horse and rider hitting a wall at 40 mph!